Cinelli’s story started in 1948, when Cino Cinelli was tired of mechanical failure during his time as a professional racing cyclist. He tirelessly attempted to sell his ideas of a number of companies, but no one was interested in his pursuit of faultless components; they seemed to forget his expert knowledge as a winner of Milan-Sanremo. Giotto – Cino’s brother – manufactured parts like stems and handlebars from steel in Florence; Cino saw the opportunity for development and together they moved the factory to Milan.
Through years of research and development of their craft, Cinelli produced the Unicator saddle in 1962, expanding the line of products and allowing the Cinelli name to grab wider attention as cyclists in Europe continued to seek the finest parts for their racing bicycles. This interest became worldwide when Japan required bicycles and components for their 1964 Olympics team; Cinelli obliged to supply them and at the following Olympics, Mexcio used Cinelli products too. In their history, Cinelli-supplied teams were awarded 28 gold medals at the Olympics.
At the heart of Cinelli is a desire to move bicycle design forward. Naturally, there would be some unusual designs along the way – Mario Cippolini’s alter stem adorning Pamela Anderson being one of them – but some would become legendary. ‘Legalise Spinaci’ is the cry of many nostalgic fans of the World Tour, and they refer to the notorious Spinaci bars of Cinelli – used in le peloton between 1993 and 1997. They were part of the revolution in aerodynamics, allowing riders to get lower on the bike and assume a faster position. However, the UCI began to see the dangers. Crashes were caused by riders unable to react to danger; they were preoccupied by their Spinaci position and couldn’t reach the brakes. This element of danger and their ban from racing in 1997 only adds to their legend.
Contemporary Cinelli components are some of the best available and their frames are always made with the finest Columbus tubing (including the infamous MASH Histogram and Vigorelli). It is a testament to Cino’s legacy that the winged ‘C’ is one of the most recognizable images in the bicycle industry.